Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Where's the [Less Expensive] Beef?

I'm having a very difficult time adapting to non-vacation life. When the sun streams into my window in the morning, my first thought is making my way to water, and for some reason, the bathtub doesn't cut it. Even James felt lost when he woke up Sunday morning. It's funny how quickly we adapted to non-home living.

But we're home, and we're adapting. What I'm not adapting to is returning to higher prices. When we were in Florida, the price of gas was slightly higher than here, which was to be expected in the middle of all things Disney. When we came home, we thought there would be a momentary break in expenses, but we were wrong. Gasoline at the station near our home is now at $4.00 a gallon.

When we went to the grocery store to stock the condo in Florida, the lady working the deli counter was telling me about how quickly the price of cheese increased. She then asked about food prices where we were from, and I was able to honestly tell her that I'd not personally experienced a big jump in our food costs. At that point, they'd remained fairly stable. Night before last and again yesterday while restocking our perishables, I was proved wrong. Some of the things I buy are still about the same price, but for the first time, I experienced the dramatic increase in beef and was astounded! I paid two times the price I'd normally pay for the same cut of meat.

I know I'm not alone in these struggles, and I know I'm very fortunate to only now be feeling the pinch in my wallet. In fact, CNN.com features an article today about Making Creative Budget Cuts to Combat High Food Costs , so again, it's a very common issue.

I'm already a coupon shopper, so that won't be a change for us. In fact, I'm very excited to teach my niece (who's spending the summer with us) the way of the coupon. Already she's helped with clipping and organizing, and today, we'll be making our way to CVS and the supermarket. (I hope she sees what a difference a little time and planning can make and that I'm not met with frequent eye-rolling and heavy sighing. She is a teenager, after all.)

Beyond that, one of the things the article mentioned was gardening at home. I love that idea, and would love to learn how to plant a garden or do some container gardening. With the increasing prices at the grocery store, I'm highly motivated to learn. Until then, I'll keep buying my produce at Sprouts, which generally offers fruits and vegetables at half the cost (or less) of national chain stores (and Wednesday is double ad day where twice the produce is on sale). Additionally, the article suggested buying locally, so for meat and milk, I think I'll look into buying directly from a farm, looking for something locally with the Local Harvest Database (though won't those prices be higher now because of the small farmer passing along his increase in expenses?).

What about you? Are you spending more and getting less? What new things are you doing to combat rising costs?

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  • Someone Being Me

    I wrote my blog post today before I read yours. Apparently we are on the same page. I wish I knew more ways to cut back. I have started coupon clipping and I do subscribe to the feed for Money Saving Mom so I get all her alerts on deals and coupons but I feel like I need to do more. I love the CVS deals but it would be nice if I could get deals like that on dairy and meat. We have been buying most of our perishables at H.E.B because they are a lot cheaper on meat and dairy than the Kroger by my house. But Kroger send me tons of coupons so I shop their deals and coupons for canned goods, pasta, etc. We get gas at Sam's which is usually 10 cents cheaper a gallon than the gas stations by our house.

  • Michele

    Most definately - although it's been hard to know how much of that is b/c we are not living in the States but from everything I read/hear, it's like this everywhere. A quart of strawberries set me back $5.80 the other day. OUCH.

    As far as what we do - a lot less meat these days and we (try) to buy whatever produce is a good deal that week. Beans are a wonderful way to stretch the shrinking grocery budget!

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